This book expands the focus on inequality that defined our earlier book on the central city, titled Philadelphia: Neighborhoods, Division, and Conflict in a Postindustrial City (Temple University Press, 1991). In that earlier volume, we portrayed the deindustrialization that had transformed the city during the latter half of the twentieth century, and we interpreted the consequences of that shift for the labor force, housing markets, and politics in Philadelphia. Since that earlier book, we find ourselves in a new century and a new urban environment—one in which many of the most important questions about economic, social, and political inequality must be addressed at the regional level. With this book, we attempt to do just that.
The work that went into this book was made possible by the rich data resources that Temple University has assembled through its Metropolitan Philadelphia Indicators Project (MPIP). Since 2003, MPIP has collected, analyzed, and mapped information from dozens of data sources at the local, state, and federal levels to measure conditions and track changes across metropolitan Philadelphia. The project has assembled comparable information for all 353 municipalities included within this region, overcoming the obstacles created by differing geographical boundaries, definitional approaches, and data collection methods used by its many data providers. A particular challenge in this region spanning two states has been to harmonize data sets obtained from state agencies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. MPIP tracks over a dozen different dimensions of the quality of life in the region's hundreds of communities, from health and housing to education, employment, arts and culture, and